As a cool breeze blew through the Sheridan Park Golf Course in the Town of Tonawanda, golfers were out on the green, but the geese were not.
That is because Thunder, a border collie, had already done his job for the day: chasing those pesky geese away … in a golf cart.
Thunder is the Town of Tonawanda Youth and Parks Recreation Department’s third guard dog. He is unofficially retired, says his handler Scott Boivin, but still goes to the golf course to do the job he’s done for 11 years: keep the course free of goose poop.
Thunder is 13 years old, and his legs don’t work like they used to.
Boivin, who is a greenskeeper at the town golf courses, has been with Thunder since he was a pup and remembers when the dog used to chase the geese all over the golf course on his own four legs.
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“When he was younger, we would go to all the parks to keep the geese off the baseball diamonds and soccer fields. Now he hangs out in the golf courses with me,” said Boivin.
Because of Thunder’s age, they ride around on a golf cart to scare away the geese.
“If he’s on the cart the geese will take off before we even get close to them. Just his presence is enough to freak them out,” said Boivin.
Thunder used to patrol the town golf courses at Sheridan Park and Brighton Park, but he’s mainly at Sheridan Park now.
Although Thunder has unofficially retired, he shares such a strong bond with Boivin that he doesn’t leave his side at all.
He accompanies Boivin to work, even when he’s not really needed.
Thunder loves swimming, and often takes a dip in the Boivin family pool. Boivin said when he’s having a bad day, Thunder is always there to listen.
“He’s my boy, my buddy, family. As much as I’m with him, he’s with me, too,” said Boivin.
Boivin says he’s not sure where Thunder’s name came from but guessed it could be because he is scared of the sound.
“He’ll hide wherever he could crawl into a corner or come sits next to me,” said Boivin. “He’s a little baby with thunder for sure, and fireworks which most dogs can’t stand.”
The town is in the process of looking for another guard dog and a handler.
Being a handler is a serious commitment as you’ll be paired with one dog for the duration of the dog’s duties.
Anyone interested in that role should call the town’s Youth Parks and Recreation Department at 716-831-1001.
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